In this day and age of Biggest Loser, South Beach Diet, and the latest fitness craze highlighted by Oprah, I find myself more and more conscious about my eating habits. In fact, if you promise not to tell anyone, we have a little fitness competition within our own law firm starring four fatties. Although I have not been faithful to my own fitness regime (…again, please keep that a secret…), I have found myself diving into a new set of suits in my wardrobe. Herein lies today’s topic…the matter of perspective.

You see, according the average observer, my somewhat strained belt buckle and 1-inch-shy-of-buttoning jacket are signs of an outgrown suit. But little does that average observer know is two months ago I would not have been able to attempt the acrobats of wearing this suit to work. This is one of many suits from 10 years ago! Give me two more months and the pants will be sliding on with room to grow.  You see, that average observer has a different perspective than my family who has never seen me in these suits.

I view a lot of the challenges in the green building industry as emanating from a matter of perspective. There are countless resources available on the web about the legal risks associated with green building—just look at some of the green sites on the sidebar ( —–> ). However, as you scroll through some of those posts on green building, the tone of each writing evidences the perspective of each author. In the same fashion, a green building seminar given to construction attorneys is entirely different than a green building seminar given to owners, design professionals and engineers.

Stated differently, the parties’ expectations about the benefits of a green design will result in disputes. As noted by Frank Musica at the 2007 AIA Convention, these are often “unrealistic expectations” of the owner-developer that place significant risks on the architect. But Frank was presenting to a bunch of architects. What if the talk was given by Professor Thomas E. Glavinich at an annual AGC convention, who defines "the green contractor"?  (… If you look closely, Frank was there, too. Frank is everywhere …)

Do you understand the potential disputes caused by the parties’ perspective? So long as each party maintains a different perspective on the particular issue, then disagreement will run the project performance. But if the parties are able to clearly and accurately reduce their reasonable expectations to a writing … a contract … then perhaps the perspective they will share is one of success.